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Muhammad’s 2nd world record highlights three-medal day for Team USATF


DOHA -- My, my, my Dalilah. Sometimes the anticipation is worth the wait. It certainly was at Khalifa International Stadium on day seven of the IAAF World Championships as a dynamic duo of American hurdlers threw down the greatest race in their event’s history, culminating in a world record and bringing back memories of the 1995 Worlds in Gothenburg when Kim Batten and Tonja Buford-Bailey swept in similar fashion.

Just as she did in the rain in Des Moines, reigning Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad (Northridge, California) broke the world record in the women’s 400m hurdles. This time it was her own WR, and she needed every bit of the new mark of 52.16 to hold off Team USATF teammate Sydney McLaughlin (Los Angeles, California), who pushed her all the way and claimed silver with a 52.23, the third-fastest time in history.

Muhammad was in lane six, two outside McLaughlin, and established a slight edge over the first five barriers as both were technically sound. On the last bend, Muhammad stretched that lead to a stride, but McLaughlin persevered, kept her cool and made up a bit of ground on the run to the line. Both women were at full steam to finish off the greatest women’s 400H race in history.

Ashley Spencer (Austin, Texas) ran 54.45 from lane two and finished sixth.

Closing out a memorable night in the stadium, the men’s 400m was wide open. The top four contenders were even over the first 250m before Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas started to ease away from Fred Kerley (College Station, Texas). Gardiner was uncatchable down the home straight, winning with the sixth-fastest time ever, 43.48, and Colombia’s Anthony Zambrano caught Kerley in the last five meters to edge him for silver, 44.15-44.17.

As the pace surged and subsided in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase, U.S. champion Hillary Bor (Colorado Springs, Colorado) was a consistent presence in the lead pack. At the bell, Bor was fifth before the top four hit the gas and sped away. Bor gamely tried to stay in it, but ended up eighth in 8:09.33. Stanley Kebenei (Colorado Springs, Colorado) clocked a season’s best 8:11.15 in 10th, with Andy Bayer (Bloomington, Indiana) 12th in a lifetime-best 8:12.47, moving up to No. 7 on the U.S. all-time list.

In Friday’s other finals, Valarie Allman (Stanford, California) was seventh in the women’s discus with a best of 61.82m/202-10. Laulauga Tausaga (Iowa City, Iowa) had three fouls. Jeron Robinson (Houston, Texas) cleared 2.24m/7-4.25 to place 11th in the men’s high jump.

Engels, Centro sprint into 1,500m final; relays advance

Two-thirds of the American contingent advanced to the final in a pair of honestly-paced semis. Craig Engels (Portland, Oregon) and Ben Blankenship (Eugene, Oregon) were in the top six passing 400m in just under 60 seconds. While Engels stayed in contact with the leaders over the next lap, Blankenship dropped back into ninth, though only a second adrift. When the still tightly packed field went by the 1200, Engels had dropped back next to Blankenship, and those two were in a dicey position to qualify. Engels was trapped on the inside with 200m to go but managed to get to the outside and stride through to finish fourth in 3:36.69 to claim a spot in the final. Blankenship also moved out and up over the last 200 and took sixth in 3:36.98, but missed out on the final by .13.

Reigning Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz (Beaverton, Oregon) dropped to the back of the pack with two laps to go and then made a strong move onto the shoulder of the third place runner. At the bell he was fourth but got stuck in traffic going into the final bend and had to work hard to get back into the running down the stretch. Centrowitz crossed the line sixth in 3:36.77, advancing to the final as a time qualifier.

Both Team USATF 4x100m relay squads qualified for the final, but in a different fashion. An edgy pass between Dezerea Bryant (Clermont, Florida) and Teahna Daniels (Austin, Texas) had Team USATF in the top three at the first exchange. Daniels completed a very effective pass to former collegiate teammate Morolake Akinosun (Austin, Texas), who ran well on the final bend to give Kiara Parker (Fayetteville, Arkansas) the stick in commanding position, from whence she ran on to win in 42.46.

The men’s race featured the gold and silver medalists from the 100m, and Christian Coleman (Atlanta, Georgia) ran a blazing first leg as befits the dash champion, stretching the exchange zone with dash silver medalist Justin Gatlin (Clermont, Florida). Gatlin stayed in contact with Great Britain to the outside and handed over to Mike Rodgers (Georgetown, Texas), who ran a marvelous turn. Rodgers and Cravon Gillespie (Eugene, Oregon) used every inch of the zone on the final passover and Gillespie ran on to take third in 38.03.

Medal Table

Gold (9)

Women’s Hammer, DeAnna Price, 77.54m

Men’s 100m, Christian Coleman, 9.76 WL

Men’s Triple Jump, Christian Taylor, 17.92m

Mixed 4x400 (Wil London, Allyson Felix, Courtney Okolo, Michael Cherry), 3:09.34 WR

Men’s 800m, Donavan Brazier, 1:42.34 AR/MR

Men’s Pole Vault, Sam Kendricks, 5.97m/19-7

Men’s 200m, Noah Lyles, 19.83

Men’s 110m Hurdles, Grant Holloway, 13.10

Women’s 400m Hurdles, Dalilah Muhammad, 52.16 WR

Silver (9)

Men’s Long Jump, Jeff Henderson, 8.39m

Men’s 100m, Justin Gatlin, 9.89

Women’s Pole Vault, Sandi Morris, 4.90m

Men’s Triple Jump, Will Claye, 17.74m

Women’s 3,000m Steeplechase, Emma Coburn, 9:02.35

Women’s 800m, Raevyn Rogers, 1:58.18

Men’s 400m Hurdles, Rai Benjamin, 47.66

Women’s 200m, Brittany Brown, 22.22

Women’s 400m Hurdles, Sydney McLaughlin, 52.23

Bronze (3)

Women’s 800m, Ajee’ Wilson, 1:58.84

Women’s High Jump, Vashti Cunningham, 2.00m

Men’s 400m, Fred Kerley, 44.17

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